Denver Newsroom, Jun 22, 2020 / 09:00 am
The newly elected president of the Austrian bishops’ conference has sought to clarify his role in the publication of a book that suggests how a Church blessing of same-sex couples might be "celebrated" in Catholic churches.
Archbishop Franz Lackner of Salzburg was elected last week to chair the Austrian bishops’ conference. He has been connected to a controversial book concerning the possibility of “official” liturgical blessings of homosexual unions.
While Lackner has been reported to have commissioned or even published the book, a spokesperson said June 18 that the archbishop put in motion a study project on same-sex liturgical blessings, but he did not oversee the publication of that particular text.
The book, "The Benediction of Same-Sex Partnerships,” is edited by Father Ewald Volgger, director of the Institute for Liturgical Studies and Sacramental Theology at the Catholic Private University of Linz.
In its June 16 report on Lackner’s election as head of the Austrian bishops’ conference, CNA noted that the archbishop had served as chairman of the liturgical commission that commissioned the book.
Other reports have suggested a more direct connection between Lackner and the text.
In an April interview about the book’s release with KirchenZeitung, Volgger said that “the Austrian liturgical commission, chaired by Arcbishop Lackner, asked us to deal with” liturgical issues related to homosexuality, including the question of blessings for same-sex couples, which are the topic of the book.
English newspaper The Tablet reported May 6 that the book was “initiated by the archdiocese of Salzburg,” and that “the Austrian liturgical commission, chaired by Archbishop Franz Lackner of Salzburg had commissioned the book’s authors to address the question of an official benediction.”